Massachusetts Weighs Closing Cape Cod Canal to Commercial Striper Fishing

cape cod canal

In response to growing complaints in recent years about violations of striped bass regulations, overcrowding, user conflicts, and littering on the Cape Cod Canal, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is considering making the Cape Cod Canal a recreational-only fishing area.

According to a representative from DMF, no formal decisions have been made on the subject. However, DMF has held discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers, (ACOE), the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP), and Bourne Police to determine the best ways to address poaching, trespassing, and conflicts among anglers along the Canal, especially on commercial striped fishing days. A meeting between these groups in late February was summarized in a March 5 memo to the Massachusetts Fisheries Advisory Council (MFAC).

At the meeting, ACOE indicated that they would provide DMF with a letter providing incident documentation and the challenges fishing intensified. Both Bourne Police and MEP also stated they would review their records from prior years regarding Canal incidents and determine if there were trends that pointed to elevated activity on commercial fishing days. DMF asked that this documentation be provided to the agency to allow them to weigh the appropriateness of taking any emergency action (if warranted) to address this issue in 2020.

In a letter to DMF on March 31, ACOE outlined their concerns regarding how commercial striped bass fishing activity along the Canal is negatively impacting their ability to provide enjoyable recreational opportunities to all visitors. The letter includes the following statement:

“On commercial fishing days…the population of fishermen increases and thus, competition for space along the service roads intensifies significantly. This surge in visitation brings with it specific issues the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Rangers struggle to keep up with. An increase in overcrowded conditions, litter, erosion, complaints of fishermen making loud noises, public urination/defecation, illegal parking, reports of theft, fishermen casting at boats, verbal altercations between members of the public, in addition to aggressive behavior amongst fishermen are all problems that our Park Rangers contend with regularly during Striped bass season. Rangers have witnessed and received public complaints about violations of Striped bass regulations including; the taking of too many fish, size violations, high-grading, hiding fish in the bushes or in vehicles, fileting fish before transport, fishing without the proper license, and illegal sales. Rangers have found trash bags filled with whole Striped bass carcasses hidden in the woods and our trash cans regularly contain fileted carcasses disposed in them.”

Commercial striped bass season opens on June 24, 2020 in Massachusetts, and is open on Mondays and Wednesdays. It is a rod-and-reel-only fishery, and striped bass must be at least 35 inches long to be sold commercially. Recreational striped bass fishing in Massachusetts is open all year with a slot size limit (28″ to less than 35″). Now that recreational and commercial fisheries are segregated based on size of fish, MEP will be able to better differentiate between commercial and recreational fishing activity. If the Canal were to become a recreational-only fishing area, then any angler retaining striped bass that measure 35” or larger or more than the one fish recreational bag limit would be in violation of the recreational only rule. This is expected to improve enforcement and compliance and help validate enforcement tips from other anglers.

92 on “Massachusetts Weighs Closing Cape Cod Canal to Commercial Striper Fishing

  1. Shawn St Laurent

    I think it would a great idea to be recreational fishing only at the canal. But needs to be heavily enforced so everyone follows the same rules. Take names and keep track of people violating the rules and give them a warning the first time. Second time give them a $500.00 dollar fine and take everything even there vehicle. 3rd time triple the fine and take everything and vehicle and ban them forever from getting a fishing license again. If us legal fishermen and fisherwoman can follow the rules then everyone else should do the same. If someone can buy a fishing rod and reel and buy lures or bait then they can buy a $10.00 license just like everyone else that has to follow the rules

    1. Hunter Thayer

      Agreed Shawn! I think this is a great step in the right direction in conserving the species. I do not support hindering someone’s lively hood, however, this is an exception. For the sake of the fishery!

      1. Don Cooke

        Very good idea love it, It’s about time to take control of this matter at once.I have seen way to much of this for many many times . Like Belaceck says do your job. !!!

    2. Andrew Milmore

      Agreed – they need to crack down on HARD this kinda thing if folks arent following the rules and hopefully will be able to.


      In other words, those of us that are commercial fishermen must pay the price, because some idiots act out or doing stuff illegally? Do you think that’s fair? I paid for my license, why should I be punished? it’s always the same people whining every year. I have yet to see any problems on the Sagamore side, it’s always on the railroad bridge, that I hear about..Do more enforcement, doesn’t bother me, but don’t restrict my fishing.

    4. Josh

      How would you feel if your income was restricted to 2 weekdays, regardless of the weather window. The Canal is the best chance a lot of commercial fisherman that either have a smaller vessel or have to fish in inclement weather to make a paycheck for their family. Banning commercial fishing in the canal is a ridiculous idea, enforcement of licensing and size limits is what is needed. I’m personally tired of needing a nanny state to constantly give us Permission to do or use something, when we are the sovereign entities utilizing what God provided for us, not what a government thinks is appropriate. I believe that more education should be utilized, with maybe a required video on safe and proper releasing of non keeper fish across the board and available in multiple languages before you can spend the $10 to obtain a saltwater permit, at least the information will be put forward. Just because a couple clowns do stupid things does not mean that an important industry should be regulated out of any Public area, which the Canal is all of ours.

      1. Maddy

        All you care about is money. Do you even have a clue to what is happening to our planet due to commercial fishing? It is destroying the ocean. It is estimated that by 2050 the oceans will be empty. No oceans means no human existence. Fishing gear alone causes over 50% of the oceans plastic pollution NOT plastic bags and straws. This is a canal meant for recreational fishing. You bring in commercials boats say goodbye to sharks soon. Once the top predator in the food chain those smaller fish will over populate and die off and so on until there nothing left. Is it really worth it?

    5. Gabor Phaneuf

      It is far to long for this law to come in effect. The money that comes in from good honest fisherman alone should help tip the scales in our favor. The fine should be a lot heavier. Fines should be high enough to make you think twice about breaking the rules. Post a phone number and we will call. What have we been waiting for????

  2. John Kelly

    I strongly oppose any commercial fishing along the canal. These areas should be kept to recreational use only. It’s bad enough the we have increased some of the catch sizes further out this year. Please I love the fishing industry and support our Local fishermen who work hard to make an honest living but,,
    We only have what we have and mismanaged gone.

  3. Patrick Paquette

    The issue is that the list of problems laid out by the ACOE is not going to be solved by a prohibition of commercial fishing. On any set of minus or breaking tides the same issues will continue. Once the ACOE figures out the commercial ban is not working they will have the precedence and framework to shut out all anglers.

    1. Canalrat

      I see that coming next. Hope not . Canal fishing only thing I have left ): .

  4. Charlie Babineau

    Absolutely ban commercial bass fishing at the canal!This is an absolute fantastic idea to help the fish recover from being slaughtered!It’s a man made waterway just too easy to rob and steal.Cars so close ant too easy to cheat the system!

  5. Jack

    It’s not the comercial fishermen causing all these problems, every one knows what the problem has been over the last three or four years but no one has the balls to say it

    1. Andrew Milmore

      So….I genuinely don’t know what you are talking about – is it because people have “found out” about the canal and more folks from out of state are there?

    2. Kevin Osborne

      The people who actually pay for commercial licsense, are the ones who are professional fisherman. And women!! WE DO NOT ABUSE the canal or the people. It’s the ones who take any size or any amount regardless who ruin the experience at the canal. They are the low life’s who would never pay proper fees to legally sell. They steal your gear and act improperly. Anyone who pays extra deserves to fish where and when they want. I say commercial ONLY on canal Monday and Wednesday!!!

  6. Robert Muri

    Fishermen pay for our licenses, increase enforcement, littering is a big problem. I along with other friends pick up trash and have called about it. I have seen bad behavior sometimes, enforcement, enforcement,we pay for it


    Yes, a very good idea to close the canal to commercial fishing

    1. Michael

      It would be great if everyone actually released their fish properly. It’s sad how people just throw them back to die

  8. Lou Paress

    I must agree with the crowd in that the canal should be recreational fishing only . Least year I witnessed it all . Under size fish being taken ,six or seven fish being taken by one angler and the illegals with there no habla. Trash left everywhere people fishing no license . The canal is a very special fishery and should be protected .

    1. Ferrari

      Hey easy with the “ no able” thing! Hahahahaha
      But, I agree with you!
      I’ve seeing people braking the rules and leaving trash along the canal.
      Unfortunately, the most crowded days are not the commercial days, but the weekends!

    2. Lino

      Hey easy with the “ no able” thing! Hahahahaha
      But, I agree with you!
      I’ve seeing people braking the rules and leaving trash along the canal.
      Unfortunately, the most crowded days are not the commercial days, but the weekends!

  9. Steven Longo

    I am a commercial fisherman,most of the violations are not from commercial fishing.its fishing the canal in general.either make it CATCH AND RELEASE ONLY or no fishing period.

  10. Mark

    I’ve lived in Bourne since 98 and in my opinion it’s the social media that’s highlighted the canal and brought in the masses from other areas. I think there’s a lot of good rec and commercial guys that fish and respect the canal and other fishermen but there are the same amount of scum bags that disrespect, liter and poach fish from the canal.
    Make it catch and release only and you’ll weed out all the scum bags

  11. George

    Well commercial increases fisherman, but not by the family load that certain recreational fishermen bring. Those recreational fisherman in question are poaching constantly and daily. Commercial adds to the economy, brings money to bourne. Just tonight a recreational fisherman was caught, again, on the train bridge fishing. Commercial guys do not do that. I think pointing the finger at the individual commercial guy vs families of recreational is wrong. 5000 rod and reel licences and only 1000 were used last year to turn in fish for profit all over Massachusetts. This is wrong.

  12. Brian

    Make the canal catch and release only. Would solve a lot of problems and make rule enforcement much easier.

  13. Matt

    I agree with Mark , make it a catch and release only area and that would clean up alot of the existing problems .

  14. John Rocharz

    I would like to see this happen, I now see the overwhelming number of people fishing with the commercial fishing. I never really noticed this until the last few years.

  15. Jon Woodman

    Removing the relatively few commercial guys won’t fix the problem. These guys aren’t the troublemakers. Increased law enforcement and stiffer penalties are needed. Hire seasonal DEP interns to act as observers to monitor fishing and call in LEOs when necessary.

  16. Pixie

    Saw a guy drop a 2 in the water next to my kid. Gross, I will just fish from the miles of sandy beaches we have

      1. Dave

        I caught a seal in the canal once. Almost got spooled

  17. Peter Readel

    Let’s be very careful about what we wish for! Special rules for CC Canal? No fish over 35”? What is next……no fishing on Canal on Commercial Fishing days? Special License to fish CC Canal? Fishing limited to particular days or times? Once restrictions start when do they stop?? Let’s start with stricter enforcement, equipment held until court appearance, bigger fines. Publish offenders names. Don’t open the door for too many restrictions.

    1. Dennis

      I totally agree. There are already lots of restrictions on the canal. Most fishermen are respectful of the rules and of others. More enforcement is the answer. Businesses along the canal will be negatively affected with more regulations that discourage fishermen like me who travel more than 100 miles for the chance to catch stripers.

  18. Bill Costello

    The canal fishing has changed in the 55 years ,I have been fishing there. Cell phones and the internet have opened up a whole new breed of fisherman.. I suggest, on the good morning tides, load up on law enforcement, hire police details from all the neighboring towns, bring them up speed on the fishing laws and have them work with the EPO’s to put a stop to all of the illegal fishing,, A commercial fisherman is allowed only two fish per day and only for 2 days a week, and you know they are all licensed. The two extra fish per week is not going to make that much of a difference in the striper population. So let’s put a stop to all of this illegal fishing, heavy fines and confiscating of all their gear for starts, also get their cell phone number and tract them to see if they are back fishing,

  19. Richard Sherman

    Last year I went to the South End of New Bedford to do a little sport fishing, when I pulled into my parking spot I noticed a man with 3 children giving a child a small undersize striper. The child ran to the mini-van beside me and gave the fish to a woman in the van. I went to the fisherman to ask, how was the fishing? He had caught another schooly, and did not speak English. He was stunned to see me approach him (I keep my fishing license on my hat; he must have thought I was a cop), he franticly tried to get the small striper off the hook. He beat the fish on the rocks killing it and threw it back in the water. As the fish floated away he yelled at the kids, the woman in the van, and left in a hurry. This made me angry wishing I had the authority to do something about it!

  20. Deb

    There should be more patrol of the canal during striped bass season to catch the illegal fishing of them, am and pm. If the problem is people fishing illegally get rid of them. Closing the canal to all fishing only bands the fishermen that abide by the law. ☹️

  21. Ksnake

    Commercial fishermen are not the problem. In fact, they know more about fishing the canal than anyone. They’ve been fishing there for years. The problem is the new crowds that have showed up in the past few years because of social media. They don’t know what they are doing, and have no respect. Don’t punish the old time commercial guys who have been there for years, find a way to punish the idiots!

  22. TK

    Need to enforce the rules and hand out citations relentlessly for a few years. Closing it to commercial guys will help a little but lets face it… wont stop the issues. I wont fish the canal anymore out of sheer disgust. For all the honorable people out there just call, text and email the government every chance u get. They will only respond when we become an overwhelming nuisance. Just how it is. Coming here to congregate and complain wont be enough.

  23. Phil

    I’m 63. I’ve fished and hunted my entire life. I’ve purchased fishing and shellfish licenses in Mass for the past 20 years. I’ve purchased licenses, hunting and fishing, in at least a dozen states.

    I’ve only been stopped by a fish and game guy twice: once while bow hunting in Wisconsin in 1977 and once on the NJ coast in the early 1990s.

    In Massachusetts? Never.

    It seems to me that enforcement is just too lax. We need guys walking the canal and guys patrolling the parking lots.

    We need signs that say:

    “One legal fish per person per day.
    Violators will be fined, and have their tackle confiscated.”

    Hell, I wouldn’t mind undercover volunteers scoping the action and calling the cops to report violators.

    Like everyone else who has spent any time fishing, I’ve seen guys with multiple dead schoolies in their buckets.

    This isn’t our resource to leave to our kids. It’s our grand kid’s resource that they are lending to us.

    We need to respect it.

  24. APEX

    What a sad story. Read all the comments above and many point their fingers at some group or another, illegals, out of staters, new comers, commercial fishermen. Good thing aliens haven’t landed their flying saucer in Bourne yet, but if they do, they will be blamed too. Look in the mirror before you look for someone to blame.

    The Canal is an artificial killing zone and fishing it is cheating everyone up and down the Striper Coast of a better chance to catch a better fish. I’ll say the same thing about fishing for stripers where and when they spawn. I live close enough to fish it but I won’t be part of the slaughter. Canalistas should go after stipers in their natural habitat and maybe they might learn how to be better fishermen.

    Close the Canal.

    1. Penn man

      Ban recreational fishing allow only commercial fishing cause we follow the rules

    2. Cape

      I agree close the canal all together.
      Be done with the drama. It is a kill zone. Very easy fishing!!

  25. Skip

    I cannot believe it has come to this! It is not the commercial fishermen that is the source of the issue. This “big brother ” action will be just another step in the erosion of our rights and legal privileges. Do not accept this as a solution to the problem.

  26. Tom Morse

    I feel the canal should require a secondary permit for fishing there, the income generated could be used to pay extra patrols to fine and discourage the illegal activities that go on there

    1. Bobby

      Good suggestion . Enforce the laws that are already on the books and the problem will go away. I don’t think they want to clog the courts with fish and game violations. Kind of always been that way. Like someone else said I too have been hunting and fishing hard for 50 years and Can count how many times I’ve been checked on two hands . Not good enough, but like everything in society these days the bureaucrts WILL take the easy way out.

  27. Jeff

    How about the violators caught be sentenced to cleaning up some of the trash along the canal along with losing fishing privileges for 1 yr the 1st time and forever the 2nd, the slap on the wrist they now receive obviously don’t work, also honest fishermen should be awarded a free license for a future year for reporting violators that get convicted

  28. Cam feilds

    Yeah its hard to believe people commenting about commercial fisherman not being the problem. We’ve all seen CULLING OR UPGRADING GOING ON. GREED GREED GREED. Real Fisherman FISH everywhere. NOT JUST THE CANAL

  29. Pat

    The problem with the canal is not the commercial guys, The problem lies with the jack asses who can’t shut their mouths in the middle of the night especially at the train bridge. They yell and swear all night long like a bunch of punks.People live near bye and shouldn’t have to put up with that type of crap.We are all going to loose this awesome fishing privilege soon if these chumps don’t change their ways!

  30. Cam Feilds

    How can anyone defend the commercial guys when we’ve all heard of or seen CULLING/UPGRADING. It’s all GREED. MAKE IT CATCH AND RELEASE. Nobody wants to buy a Fillet of striped bass that cooked in a cooler for 2 days to make it for a commercial sale

  31. Shannon Richards

    Hi. I’ve never fished your canal. Seen lots of exciting YT vids, read a lot of blog posts. I fish NYC, LI and the East End, and I’ll tell you the problems are the same; and it’s not the enforcement … but lack of enough LEOs. They can’t be everywhere, they legally MUST personally witness an infraction in order to issue a citation (because legally they represent the State as a witness, and can’t do so if they don’t observe the abuses first hand). What’s needed are more LEOs, yes but what’s needed first is a system where lawful anglers can submit online/app complaints (civilian witness statements) at the time of the infraction, citing the GEO coords/loc of the incident and the pertaining details (type of infraction, size, number etc, and description of offenders, etc). Imagine LEOs having access to on-time on-site reports that they can then go verify. Need to be more plain clothes LEOs that can act as the witness-spotter, while other uniformed officers make the contact. And I agree, make penalties stiff up front, one warning with a citation for official record of warning, on second infraction suspension of fishing license for remainder of year and hefty fine, 3rd infraction, 5x fine and 250hrs of community service (ex. picking up trash at the CC). Stop f’in around with offenders. We have the same problems here too. Too many times I’ve wanted to say something but don’t want my tires punctured. But when I leave, I do call DEC with the hope they are close enough to respond and bust some assholes.

  32. C.C

    YES!!! sorry to all those who commercial fish but Stripers should be recreational only!! I’ve seen so many breeder fish killed at the canal it literal could have resulted in millions of fry! (based on breeding stars I’ve read). I dont remember which reader commented the canal should be catch and release but it’s a great idea! Too many fish being killed at the canal! way too many!!!

  33. Derrick La Rue

    I’m a recreational person who likes to catch and release, but I also like to eat striper once in a while. So, just making the canal catch and release is stupid think about it? Everyone pick up your trash Could this trash thing be cultural habits. Respect America! Wildlife is always under pressure from greedy people that just don’t care! Let’s knock out the poachers! Let’s see their faces! I respect commercial fisher people. You can learn alot from them. We need to educate migrants to pick up there trash.

    1. Chuck

      Close the canal. Has to be most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in along time … half the people that fish it can’t read water that’s why huddle around herring run when running ,close one mile both directions and both sides cut some of the problem that seem to be when canal takes beating,open your mouth if you see something say something…nevermind warning first time whack person with stiff penalty and public embarrassment,commercial guys aren’t to blame anymore than rec guys it’s the idoits that call themselves fisherman that partake occasionally that are big offenders ….how bout I pay separate fee to mass to fish that ditch just so more epos can drive there little buggy’s up n down …I’ve grown up in sandwich and have been here 57 years and 50 of those been fishing by myself..last time I fished by herring run I was seven with my dad swore up n down then from the fiasco I seen back then I would never fish that area again…here we are 50 years later and same problem wonder what the bottom on each end really looks like……..i learned to read the water and no matter where I go or state mass R.I. conn I catch quality fish,I’d be happy to pay separate fee just to get rid of the idiots….

  34. JacMor

    Substantially pump up patrol with “portion” of this paid by increase permit fee by $5.00 (we can afford it folks). I’ve been there recreational fishing many early mornings watching as guys that traveled from 50 miles away come and cast right over your head. Idiots that don’t respect spacing and do many of the things that this ban effort blames commercial fishermen doing. Make it a $200.00 first offense fine for any illegal activity and 12 month license suspension for 2nd offense for any period beginning 18 months from the first offense. Collect plenty of fines, particularly 1st year of enforcement and that will pay for a further increase in enforcement staff. Those that don’t fish legally and don’t abide by the rules do so because they know there chance of getting caught is next to zero. Why, no enforcement. We are talking about mentality. I’m recreational, I say don’t penalize all commercial people when the problem is shared by all. The truth is the problem perpetuates because the State spends very little money to enforce their own existing rules and further, that the rules and fines are not stiff enough to discourage the ongoing illegal activity.

  35. Vince

    How about close the canal ti NO fishing at all!?! Remove these rats from this tourist attraction and practice Social distancing!

  36. Cam feilds

    whether commercial or recreational we have all witnessed culling/upgrading down at the ditch. Its GREED. Funny thing is the guys who slaughtered them the past couple years are always bitching that the fishing USED to be better. What a crazy coincidence. Maybe letting a fish go once in a while would have helped

  37. Kevin Downs

    I have over 50 years fishing the canal, Iam not the best but decent. In that time I have seen a lot of changes. This problem started with the com.of Mass. started giving a commercial license to anyone shore or boat.Then hurricane hit NJ Ny Conn RI. There fisheries went down. The bass started to Fall apart and for a small price they can come to Mass.get a commercial license. The canal started to light up day or nite didn’t matter.
    Then internet World Wide Web, We would see plates all over USA, and for a small price get a commercial license sell bass. Then WWW . Now we have people from all around the world. Now IT IS THE COMMERCIAL FISHERMANS FAULT. The true fisherman don’t leave beer cans trash and the small of pot. I fish all year I clam ,Quahog and Iam on the canal all year. If u are not a legitimate Commercial fisherman u should not have a license and no out of state fisherman. If u were to spend some time on the canal u would see the real fisherman taking care of small fish with care . MASS. stop giving Commercial license to everybody and anybody. If u have not had a commercial license for 5+ years your not a commercial fisherman. Don’t blame the real fisherman , they are a labor of love.

    1. Bob Kay

      My ma saltwater lic cost’s $310 a year. (Fact). I am not allowed to get a lic in RI. (Fact). Ri commercial fisherman can get a lic in Mass. (fact). They catch fish in mass and RI and sell them in mass on our quota. Stopping this would be a place to start. From there more enforcement would go a long way. Do not punish the good fishermen rec or comm!!!! Catch and release would just kill more fish.

  38. TFO

    I been fishing at Canal for 8 years. I saw commercial guy stacking fish and those is big ; 25 to 40lbs. More trash left behind from people from other state.

  39. Greg

    God forbid anyone puts in the time and finds a DIFFERENT place to fish, fuck the canal you can keep your balls on back spots all you want, keep destroying the place too

  40. ReelDeal

    Commercial fisherman have same legal and moral right to fish the same water as recreational. This is totally illegal to discriminate against a certain group. Its illegal. Its either we all can fish the canal or no one fishes the canal.

  41. Eric

    I agree with the suggestion that the canal be open for catch and release only. I think there should be no commercial stripper fishing at all. Lets bring back these wonderful fish yo healthy numbers. Lets give up the fish meat harvest that is wiping them out.

  42. Jon McMahon

    Make America great again! Not only are these illegals raping and selling drugs now they are committing crimes against our precious striped bass. Let’s build this wall an deport them for good. We all know what the real problem is so let’s stop being PC about it

  43. Mark

    John you hit the nail right on the head. Amen to the that. Let’s make the canal great again’

  44. Todd

    Why is everyone focusing on commercial fishing on canal ?
    The commercial fishing on the canal is not the WHOLE PROBLEM it’s 2 days a week and not the whole striper season.
    Close it fine. But let’s all be honest here Rec fishing is a major culprit of “”poaching “”. Make the whole canal catch and release sport fishing only for striped bass!
    Now that’s easy to patrol ! You won’t have buzzards running fish in woods ! No fish can be kept! PERIOD
    You snowflake casters keep blaming commercial fishing!!

  45. Dano

    Regulations are there. Yes n will comply. However no enforcement of any a couple years back w Mass sport salt water fishing fees. Where do the fees go? Have not seen any conservation /fish n game officers ever in my 60 yrs. on S shore of the Cape. Following the science of the experts and respecting that perhaps the enforcement or lack of is the issue? Due respects to all who make a living commercial/sport who abide by the regs. Lets protect! Mass F n G? Please Regulate..

  46. ungle Garry AKA Offshore boy

    shut it down!!!
    and everyone fishing there needs to call in the shit heads taking fish illegally !! slash their tires ..

  47. John

    How about lots more fishing regulation signs on canal and really stiff fines and regular patrols of the area.

    Reserve the highest fines and license forfeitures for the commercial licenses (you are a professional!) and flagrant violators.

    Barbless hooks for easy and quick release.

  48. Hui Pires

    Aww man so im not going to be able to keep up to 30 fish a week from the canal with my commercial boat license.

  49. Mike

    It’s not the commercial guys. I’ve been on the canal since ’79 and the problem is some of the recreational fishermen. Post the need for a license and the size regulations visibly, at the main places people park, and in several languages. Also, heavily patrol and do spot checks for licenses and catch on the weekends and good tides. I’m not usually worried that the guy fishing midday w/ a 30 pack is going to catch much, but they do tend to leave a mess. As for the non-native English speakers, some are fine, but many don’t know the rules and take whatever they can.

  50. Walshski

    Who s gona direct the movie? Slobs,hacks,dirtbags,ignoramas,ect.ect. At the end of the day it should be about respecting the sport,the fish,all fish,how is that possible with the cast of selfies out there slayn the fish,its american greed,side hustle to make a buck,post a pic,click on the cell, and wipe out another species, i m rec,it s not just comm guys causing these problems,the human factor has gone overboard,everybody better wake up already and realize what we got bfore its gone…

  51. Jon

    Close it down! Recreation only and why not limit that too? Fish in a barrel is not fair game, fun as it is, and it definitely should not be for profit on our collective diminishing resource.

  52. C

    The canal is 14 miles long when you account for both sides. Unless you had one enforcement officer per fisherman the whole time that the fisherman was fishing, there are many ways for someone that wants to break the law to do it. The state will forever be short staffed because no matter where you work, the trend is always to do more with less. Therefore, it is impossible to keep an eye on everyone or respond in a timely fashion to every report of poaching going on. Those that want to break the law know this and know that they can get away with it. Consider this. We’re only talking about a 14 mile stretch of shoreline. How many miles of shoreline does the state have that would have to similarly get patrolled not to mention the square miles of surface water. If you think it’s easy to poach along the Canal, think about how easy it is to poach from boats and we’re not only talking about stripers here. We’re talking sea bass, fluke, scup, bluefish, etc. There will never be enough EPO’s to catch or discourage poachers.

  53. Dave

    Close the canal to commercial. Better still- catch and release only. Steep fines and confiscation of gear for violations. More enforcement.

  54. Garrett

    There are many people from out of state and out of our coastal region in Massachusetts that come to the canal leaving trash and taking undersized fish. The guys with the commercial licenses are part of the fishing issue in Massachusetts and it gives the guys that have commercial licenses that are local a bad rap. Look at the rips off Chatham as a good example. We use to have a handful of boats (5 to 10 on any one rip when the tides were right on a weekday) and now we have over 100 boats with people trolling between each other and the commercial guys (mostly out of state boats) using electric reels and cutting off drift fisherman that line up on the rip and are respectful of each other. It’s like the wild west out there and I don’t go very often since you can’t get on the fish with so many boats. It has ruined sport fishing for me and I think the commercial Striper industry should be eliminated. I also think we shouldn’t hurt those that need to make a living from the sea and I’m actually working on the problem and so are many of my fellow scientists. We need to fix our fisheries so they are around for us to enjoy. We are here arguing over who is taking our fish and impacting our sport as we discuss who should get the scraps. I’m all for conservation and a future of sport fishing. I have seen many of your comments on other On The Water threads and many of you are right, we have people taking illegal fish and Common Cormorants, Ospreys, seals, and people taking large numbers of baitfish. These are all issues with our fisheries but there are many more. It is a combination of issues with the loss of phytoplankton, zooplankton, baitfish, and the entire food chain as a result of human impacts from altering water quality, taking fish, and trying to fix what we broke in the ecosystems. We have brought back many of the predators that feed on our fisheries but haven’t addressed the bottom of the food chain. Recent studies in the Gulf of Maine have showed that phytoplankon populations are down 40% to 60% and the causes have been large amounts of freshwater from coastal rivers blasting out into the Gulf after large rain events cloud the water column and the freshwater overrides the saltwater as saltwater is heavier carrying the phytoplankton down deep where they die due to the lack of light. It was noted that the pH of the water was less that it was in studies from several decades ago and the plankton that were calcium carbonate based many be dissolving from a slight reduction in the pH due to increased carbon in the ocean. White we have lowered pollution from industrial wastewater discharges, we have more stormwater and municipal wastewater entering our coastal rivers and oceans. This includes the spawning grounds for our Stripers. Phenols from plastics or microplastics are in our waters from wastewater discharges and stormwater. Other industrial chemicals are in our wastewaters as well as antibiotics and hormones that are known to be bio-inhibitors or alter the sex of fish. Look at the islands of garbage in the world’s oceans and the studies that all sea turtles that have been autopsied have had plastics in their stomachs and 90% of sea birds have plastics in their stomachs. Many of our fish do too. In our coastal embayments which are our fish nurseries nutrients from stormwater and wastewater decrease our native plant life (i.e. eel grass) and increase invasive plants such as Sea Lettuce. Take the natural predators, the international trawlers and our local commercial guys competing for what ever can survive and reproduce (the scraps). We the sport fisherman try to enjoy fishing for whatever is left. I hear some of you clean up the trash around the canal and I applaud you. Thank you! We need to keep plastics from getting into our stormwater and the ocean.

    Some of you may think, “this guy is on his high horse” or “he’s another environmentalist just trying to push his point of view”. I’m not trying to do that at all and I’m working what ever hours I can outside of taking care of my family through my job to fix these issues. I don’t want to hurt the commercial fisherman and their industry so I currently working on aquaponic farming for both freshwater and saltwater systems. This should create fish and plant crops that are sustainable and not in any waterways or water bodies where they can impact the fisheries. These systems are self contained and can be setup anywhere on the planet to produce fish and crops Local universities are working on taking commercial tuna fishing out of the ocean as well and one local university is raising Yellowfin Tuna in an Olympic sized swimming pool. We are working on an innovative way to eliminate wastewater discharges from any surface waters and to remove everything from the wastewater prior to being discharged into the ground. We are also working on a sustainable drinking/potable water supply system so that our rivers and lakes aren’t impacted by public water supply. This should greatly reduce impacts to the waters we fish in but it will likely take us at least a decade to complete our research and have our test facilities or future working facilities fully operation and functioning the way we have intended them to be. I don’t get much time to fish anymore as almost all of my time goes into these projects but I want to do this to help protect our fisheries for us and our kids. I hope our fisheries can someday completely rebound. I’m always hopeful.

  55. Carl

    Outlaws break the law, does not matter if they are commercial or recreational. Not all the blame should go on one entity, the resource belongs to a all citizens of the State. If crowding is the problem or trying to enforce two sets of rules to difficult then close the canal to recreational fisherman on commercial days, as the commercial fishery is already closed the other 5 days a week for recreational fisherman to enjoy the Canal with no commercial pressure. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

  56. Mark

    Let people do there thing recreational or commercial should have access to canal that’s not the problem at all . They should pass a law that if you don’t speak English you can’t fish and not just the canal. Ive lived in bourne for 15 yrs , Boston before that and the problem is always the same… people that don’t speak English…not all of it is on the foreigners the taking of small fish they definitely own that one ..but the trash could be them as well as white trailer trash..I always make a point of taking the trash, braided line and whatever else was left behind by some ignorant person , white , black, yellow or any other color …we’ve all seen it all down there and i just feel commercial or residential isn’t the problem , its the 6 guys beside me fishing, (I’m sure not licensed ) that don’t know a lick of the English language…just my 2cents worth…????‍♂️??‍♂️???

  57. Nick

    Do it. Too many hacks out there already with no respect for anything even themselves. Then they will give up becuase they’ll have to actually learn something…

    1. M.T .FISHBOX & SON

      Let me get this staight. Mass. sells conserve the striped bass liscence plates and then allows the commercial fleet ( who are not commercial ) to pillage 15 bass over 35 inches. WTF? Someone has to do some research and find who is paying off who.

  58. Rod

    I love fishing the Canal and have a commercial license but what get’s me mad is that they had a ton a time to come out with new rules and they make their decisions in the last minute if they can change their mind in the last minute i should be able to cancel my commercial license also because i work hard for my money and don’t feel like feeding a bunch a people that likes to sit at their Desk making decisions. Get your ass in the Canal to see the issue that people deal with every day.

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